Literacy empowers women in India

Adult literacy classes improve the lives of 146 women and 10 men.

Southern Asia Division (SUD)

[India] The facilitators of adult literacy classes in the Khammam Section hear stories from their students about the effectiveness of the classes in reading and writing, mathematics, health and hygiene. Of the 146 women in classes, one half of them (73) are Hindu. Other Christians (15) make up 10 percent and Seventh-day Adventist church members (58) make up 40 percent. Ten additional students are men.

Listen to these stories by women from Ammapalem who were unable to go to school when children because of poverty and other family issues. They were eager to attend classes in the adult literacy program (ALP) and the results are reshaping their lives.

Vijayamma reports that she is “good at reading, writing, and simple calculations. Now no one can cheat me,” she adds. Vijayamma was invited to ALP classes by the pastor’s daughter. She was happy to attend regularly, because she had been cheated by someone she trusted. “One day I borrowed some money from my employer with 2 Indian rupees interest," she says. "Three months later I went to him to return his money with the additional 2 rupees interest. But he cheated me and took 5 rupees from me because of my ignorance. Now no one can cheat me.”

Santhoshamma reports she “can now read and do simple calculations easily.” Santhoshamma was also invited to ALP classes by the pastor’s daughter. She joined because she was impressed by the benefits of literacy. “I was cheated because of my illiteracy," she continues. "One day, I went to the shop to buy clothes for my children. The actual cost was 1,000 rupees, but the shopkeeper quoted 1,200 rupees, in spite of a 50% discount. I thank God.” She adds thanks to those who are conducting the literacy classes.

Maheshwari reports she is a tailor and attending evening classes every night. “I learned how to take correct measurements for stitching blouses. I also learned how to draw money from the bank. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to learn different things. May God bless you.”

Contributed by Mrs. Madhuramami Wilbert, Adult Literacy Program coordinator, Khammam Section

Published in Mosaic, 2017 Q2